Time Management for Your Homeschooler is a post from Shannen of Middle Way Mom:
We’ve now jumped in with both feet into 10th grade, and with my daughter being a largely independent student, time management in homeschooling is of the utmost importance.
Also with little kids in the house, I just can’t stay on top of her each day to make sure she’s using her time wisely. She has to be self-disciplined enough to do so on her own. Is it perfect in our house? No, but I do think we are making grand strides each year.
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I implore you to start moving your kids toward independent work no later than 6th grade. One subject at a time that they can do without needing prompting or reminders to stay on task is a good start. The early years will require a lot of follow-up to make sure all aspects are done instead of what I like to call the “Swiss cheese assignment” – half of it done, and half of it incomplete.
Some of the early lessons are just knowing that time management isn’t only about doing something quickly, but also making sure it’s fully done. Using your time to completely read over the instructions, plus double check that all the elements are there, is a necessary skill for independent work.
As kids get older and they are working on multiple subjects independently, they’ll need to decide in what order to complete all their tasks. We know for my oldest daughter that she needs to complete harder subjects before lunch when she’s most alert. She also needs a complete, uninterrupted hour to do geography because there are so many little parts to it. If she’s interrupted from that, then it’s more likely there will be a piece missing at the end of the day, and either she loses credit for it, or she has to take even more time to go back and fix it.
After now homeschooling for over five years, she’s learned a good rhythm to scheduling her own day. We had to work through prioritizing school over fun stuff if it meant she’d be pushing a tough subject to fall after lunch, but we’re thankful she can learn these lessons at home, in a supportive environment.
Needs vs wants
My daughter loves the CLEP prep courses through Jump Course, and would do her Psychology work for the whole week on Monday if I let her. Doing one assignment is needed, but pushing all other subjects back because she prefers Psychology is a want. I know she’s grown tired of me saying this, but I imagine it will be something she’ll end up saying to her own kids, “Do what you have to do before you do what you want to do.”
I love productivity tools. I have timers, email plugins, apps, to-do list tools, planners, and anything else where I feel like I can do things more efficiently, or at least make sure I’m not missing anything important.
Two of my favorite tools that I’ve shown my daughter are:
Homeschool Planet – I’ve tried a LOT of homeschool planners through their trial period, and most of them I don’t get through the trial period before tossing it aside. If it’s too much work to set up, I don’t want it. And if it’s not going to keep us totally accountable, then I might as well use a pen and paper.
Homeschool Planet lets me lay everything out and even will reschedule things automatically with the settings I choose. Try it out for 30 days. You don’t even have to enter your credit card info to sign up.
Strict Workflow Chrome Extension – Ever find yourself ready to start working on something, and somehow as if by accident, you end up on Facebook for the last 20 minutes? I know that if I’m guilty of wandering around the Internet aimlessly while I should be productive, my kids are just as likely to be guilty of the same thing.
I hate having to come up with consequences and being the bad guy, but that’s real life. With my daughter in 10th grade now, the days of being able to just forgive missed and forgotten assignments in order to focus on the big picture needs to be long gone.
A college professor isn’t going to give her a good grade with work done haphazardly, and neither is her future employer. I’d be handicapping her to do that. If things fall too far behind because she hasn’t been using her time wisely, then I notice a dramatic drop in the quality of her work.
We’ve implemented a system this year that should eliminate this negative cycle. If her work isn’t complete by the end of the day on Friday, she has to let me know. If there’s still missing work come Monday at dinner time, she isn’t allowed to go to fencing practice. In her world, missing fencing practice is just as bad as getting her phone and Internet access taken away, so it’s a push for her to make sure things get done.
How do you teach your child time management, and how early do you buckle down with it?
Other Homeschooling Topics that Might Interest You:
- Using a Checklist to Guide School Work
- How to Plan Your Homeschool Year
- How to Create a Homeschool Schedule
- Four Homeschool Time Management Tips
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